cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

pre-post script: On re-reading this is chaotic and not even close to a full wrap experience of an intense event, and I feel like I left more out than I described. Sigh, blogging about blogging or blogging about not blogging well…

It’s hard to blog the experience of last week’s Faculty Academy at the University of Mary Washington because there is so much to try and encapsulate, and I’m left with “it was teh awesome”. Some here is the random brain dump. Or maybe it will be all photos.

My first experience at faculty Academy was as a speaker in 2007 and 5 years later I find myself on the other side as one of the team at UMW putting on the conference. Then, like now, it is a conference that does not overwhelm you as a conference, there is a lot of space to talk, and there is this kind of family gathering vibe to it.

And then there is the fact that we put this on for a very small budget amount and at the same time charge the grand total of $0 for anyone to attend, unlike other conferences which can generat reactions at registration like:

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Barbara Sawhill and Ma’ayan Plaut drove all the way in from Ohio, and Britt Batwood and colleagues came from VCU, and Jon Becker was there as well.

I must admit my role was pretty light- Jim Groom of course visions it and pulls in the lead speakers, Martha Burtis runs the Herculean task of managing the program doing magic with the web site (and surviving illness), Lisa Ames corralled the food, Tim and Andy worked madly to makle the video stream work, Tim lugged over all the MakerBot gear. Oops how did Andy escape being in a photo?

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog
cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by rushaw

My mini bit was using Red Dog to pick Grant and Giulia from the airport and doing some photography. For me it was also useful to try and be in a lot of faculty sessions to better learn the things wonderful going on here. There was participating of some extremely bright and articulate students, like Kyle Allwine sharing the unusual experience of Jeff McClurken’s History of Information Age seminar where the students created the syllabus. I was super impressed by Krystyn Moon’s three students present in the session on eportfolios who were frank about their experiences, especially one who challenged faculty to be doing the same thing they were askling of their students.

Also worthy was Shannon Hauser’s presentation as a graduated student with 4 years worth of UMWblogs in her dashboard, described as a “strange trip”

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by rushaw

This is pretty relevant considering the next phase of innovation of UMW, where at Faculty Academy Jim Groom described the collaboration with CIO Justin Webb (my vote for one of the coolest and innovative CIOs) on the “Domain of One’s Own” project where in the future, every student will be not getting just blogs, but their own personal domain and web hosting platform provided by the college- imagine 4 years worth of personal cyber infrastructure activity that a student could then export and walk away with after their graduation.

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by rushaw

cc licensed ( BY NC SA ) flickr photo shared by giulia.forsythe

(I cannot highly recommend enough the series of session drawings Giulia Forsythe created and published in almost real time)

Beyond all this of course were the headliners, in the 1960s had the British Invasion, in 2012 at Faculty Academy it was the Canadian Invasion. From top photo on this post, awesome was the power trio of presenters, not only friends (good friends) and colleagues, and maybe by accident, but Grant Potter, David Darts, and Giulia Forsythe are all Canadian. Eh.

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

These ought to be separate blog posts- Grant Potter was the lead off with an inspiring vision of the power of tinkering and learning, of not always having a clear purpose in experimenting but just making room for the unexpected things that happen in that exploring set. And beyond the talk, just hanging out with Grant for a week, the excitement and music he brings to everything, he is all about putting those tools on the table. Watch his talk at

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Canadian number two was Thursday, when Giulia Forsythe led us on an adventure of understanding what it means to sketch and draw ideas, showing us not only how she thinks visually. I might be slightly biased (big fan), but it was a stellar talk, and it was fun to wander around the room and watch how people were putting into practice the use of symbols, metaphors, and graphs she was asking them to do. It was all I could do not to give away what I knew was in the last slide, she highlighted the presence Jim Groom proved at his TEDxNY talk when the technology failed, and used himself as the animated GIf- the point being the presence we can bring even as ourselves being the visual. Whach her talk at

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

And it was like having a hero come for David Darts to bring his talk “When You Say Culture, I Reach For My Source Code”. Starting with a broad view of the history of openness, and the dangers we face in a regulated future– he brought in the salient example of Cory Doctorow’s Printcrime short story where the future printmaker’s resolve is to not just keep printing, but to make something that will enable everyone to become printers (and thus relevance to the demos Tim set up for the MakerBot, this is all so self referential).

The highlight for me was hearing Darts talk about the PirateBox, so of course I had to get my fan photo

cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by cogdogblog

Catch his entire session at

There is tons more that was on here, the informal connections, the conversations on the back patio, the music in the local bars, it was just 4 days of energy rush.

And boom, it ends. But it really goes on.

So do not miss out on Faculty Academy 2013.

The post "Faculty Academy 2012: The Canadian Invasion" was originally thawed from a previous ice age and melted at CogDogBlog ( on May 25, 2012.


  • Sounds like the faculty academy was a success! Thank you for including the links to the videos.

    You got some great photos! I especially like the first one at the top.

    Just to let you know, I got a 50mm f/1.4 lens as you recommended, and I LOVE IT!! A few others told me that f/1.8 would be just as good, but I’m glad I went for the 1.4. Thank you!! :)

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